It is always thought that to become a physician, you finish high school, earn an excellent SAT score, go to college, earn a phenomenal GPA and MCAT score, attend medical school, graduate medical school, then get into a residency program for the specialty of your choice. This whole process takes almost three decades of someone’s life, so does one necessarily want to spend the extra time doing other endeavors.
However, once you begin your life as a physician, you may not have enough time to to do things, such as travel, or do a medical mission, or get a Master’s in Public Health or participate in a research program. As a fourth year medical student, I have done an elective abroad, but never a medical mission. It is on my list of things to travel to Uganda and participate in a research program.
Wanting to do these other endeavors mean that you will have to take time off, and sway away from your classmates. You may not graduate together with your friends, or attend a residency program with your classmates. However, all of these are sacrifices should be made, if it’s in your deepest desire to accomplish the above.
In my opinion, in the long run, it is not about how fast you finish and how young of a physician you are while you are practicing, but it is all about, gaining the experience that YOU want, and accomplishing YOUR goals. Most importantly, YOU can make YOUR own timeline, because what matters finally is that YOU accomplish what YOU desire.